We have rescued and helped secure the forever homes of four Alaskan grizzly bears.
In Glacier National Park, the mighty grizzly bear roams free, foraging for food, searching for mates, and raising cubs. However, grizzly bears are considered threatened under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). Like many wild animals, these bears face dangers associated with human-wildlife conflict. Grizzly bears (along with pumas, mountain goats, and other animals) need protected wildlife corridors to successfully pass under the busy roads of popular tourist areas, like Glacier National Park. Oakland Zoo is committed to protecting this magificent mammal, in Glacier National Park and beyond.
The expansion of human development in rural lands means increased habitat fragmentation. Grizzlies are confined to islands of land, inhibiting healthy biodiversity. Transportation corridors are an especially difficult wildlife problem. Bears are drawn to roads because of food sources: animal carcasses (like deer and elk) that were hit by cars. Sadly, the feeding bears are then themselves often hit and killed by cars. Glacier National Park has created underpasses to allow wildlife to safely get around the roads, but like all conservation efforts, one solution leads to new problems that must be addressed (see below).
Wildlife viewing is a huge visitor draw in Glacier National Park, and the wildlife underpass at Walton Goat Lick is one of the most popular areas to observe the park’s beautiful wildlife. Visitor congestion along the highway and on the bridge presents an unsafe environment for all. In addition to safety concerns, human presence is encroaching upon the highway wildlife crossing and the human congestion negatively affects the bears, causing them to avoid their needed pathway.
Glacier National Park and Oakland Zoo have joined the Zoo-Park Partnership for America’s Keystone Wildlife Project. This unique initiative involves zoos and aquariums working with National Parks, National Wildlife Refuges, and National Forests and Grasslands in restoring sustainable habitats and wildlife populations across the country.
This partnership brings together Glacier National Park’s work to conserve and protect grizzlies, and the mission of Oakland Zoo’s conservation program.
Oakland Zoo supports and sponsors the Passage Project currently underway to help save grizzly bears and wildlife in Glacier National Park. Once fully funded, the project will provide infrastructure to protect this vital wildlife corridor, allowing people to view these majestic creatures at a safe distance, while grizzlies are able to peacefully amble on. Besides a wildlife corridor, the project also includes wildlife fencing, more visible highway signage, installation of barriers (to prevent vehicles from stopping), educational signage, and an extension of the existing overlook trail, allowing a better vantage point of animals from under the bridge. The entire project aims to provide a safer future for both grizzlies and grizzly-loving wildlife enthusiasts.
Oakland Zoo shares conservation issues facing grizzly bears and empowering solutions to conserve them to the public through a variety of channels: Docents and Volunteers, Teen Wild Guides, Education programs, events, exhibits, campaigns, Keeper Talks, and media stories.
Oakland Zoo provides yearly professional training for field partners and offers myriad staff skills and resources to enhance conservation efforts.
Oakland Zoo’s Eco-Travel Program plans to bring participants on a once-in-a-lifetime journey to take real action for wildlife at beautiful Glacier National Park.
Oakland Zoo is committed to animal welfare and, when possible, offers forever homes to animals in need due to injury, parental loss due to car strikes or fires, the illegal pet trade, human-wildlife conflict, or other challenges. Four grizzly bears rescued by the Alaska Department of Fish and Game now call Oakland Zoo home.
In Glacier National Park, the mighty grizzly bear travels through the landscape, alone or with cubs, foraging for food, searching for mates, and seeking new territories. These threatened bears, along with pumas, mountain goats, and others, need protected wildlife corridors to successfully pass under the busy roads of this popular national park. GNP is dedicated to the conservation of the grizzly bears that call this park their home, and aims to find solutions through scientific research and action.
Zoo-Park Partnerships (ZPPs) help America recover the wildlife legacy lost during Westward Expansion era of U.S. history and improve wildlife population health, genetic integrity and habitat in ways that also benefit local communities on public lands today. ZPP helps Glacier National Park and Oakland Zoo strengthen their relationship, ultimately benefit bison and all animal in this shared habitat.